Taking Your Kids Snorkeling
Snorkeling presents a wonderful opportunity to allow children to see a whole new world under the sea. Learning to snorkel is fairly easy and almost any child over the age of 6 or 7 (even younger if they can swim) can enjoy snorkeling as long as you follow a few tips and guidelines.
1. The most important part of snorkeling is choosing the right mask. The mask will literally decide if your adventures are enjoyable or not. If you are traveling and are staying at a resort or in a tropical area, chances are that you'll be able to rent snorkeling gear. You may want to consider purchasing your own though, to get items that fit you and your children correctly.
2. Once you are to your destination, spend some time allowing your children to get used to their mask. Stay in very shallow water and have your children practice putting just their face under the water and looking around.
3. Once they are comfortable with the mask, add the snorkel into the equation. Still in shallow water, have your children practice their snorkeling technique by placing their heads under water and learning how to breath comfortably through their mouths. Spend plenty of time getting used to this. Show them how to "clear" their mask by lifting just the bottom and letting the water flow out.
4. Once everyone is comfortable with their mask and snorkel, you can put on your fins and you are ready to go. Stay close to shore at first and always stay in a group. If you child gets frightened, take them to shore and try again later. Try just floating along while holding hands. Younger children seem to enjoy this method.
5. If your child is just learning to swim or is not a strong swimmer, you can use a life jacket, since only their head is under water.
That's about all you really need to know. Remember to explain the rules to children before you go - staying next to eachother, etc. Talk to them about not touching things underwater and consider looking through a book to show them things that they are likely to see on their adventures. Consider buying an underwater camera to take photos of all the amazing things you see - you can buy one-use underwater cameras extremely cheap.
If you are going to be in the tropics anytime soon, snorkeling is something you absolutely want to find the time to do!